Flying Without Wings

"Flying Without Wings"

One of European artworks
Single by Westlife
from the album Westlife
Released 18 October 1999 (1999-10-18)
Format CD single
Recorded Rokstone Studios, London
Genre Pop, Gospel
Length 3:36
Label BMG
Writer(s) Wayne Hector, Steve Mac
Producer(s) Steve Mac
Certification Silver (UK), Gold (SWE)
Westlife singles chronology
"If I Let You Go"
"Flying Without Wings"
"I Have a Dream"/"Seasons in the Sun"

"Flying Without Wings" is a song released by Irish boy band Westlife from their self-titled debut studio album (1999).


The song was written by Wayne Hector and Steve Mac. In an interview with HitQuarters, Hector said the basic idea for the song came to him while on a break from working on a hip hop session with Ezi Cut in Los Angeles:

"I came up with a couple of lines for the first verse and then phoned my mama’s house, left it on the answering machine, and said, “Don’t get rid of this!”[1]

Upon returning to England, Hector went into the studio to work on the idea with long-time songwriting partner and producer Steve Mac.[1] When the two discussed what the song was about they agreed that, "this is about our wives. This is about the things that make our lives complete."[1] According to Hector the lyrics were completed in about half an hour.[1]

Commercial performance

The song became an instant hit in the United Kingdom and many parts of the world. The song became the group's third UK number-one single, spending 13 weeks on charts.[2] It is also one of Westlife's biggest selling singles. The song has received a Gold sales certification in the UK for over 400,000 copies sold.[3]

Track listing

  1. "Flying Without Wings" - 3:35
  2. "Everybody Knows" - 3:45
  3. "Flying Without Wings" (Video) - 3:40
  1. "Flying Without Wings" - 3:35
  2. "That's What It's All About" - 3:20
  3. "Flying Without Wings" (Acappella) - 3:29
  1. "Flying Without Wings" - 3:35
  2. "I Have A Dream" (Remix) - 4:06
  3. "Seasons In The Sun" (Single Remix) - 4:10
  4. "Flying Without Wings" (Video) - 3:40


Charts (1999/2000) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[4] 31
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[5] 7
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[6] 8
Denmark (Tracklisten)[7] 14
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[8] 19
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[9] 10
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[10] 17
Germany (Official German Charts)[11] 85
Ireland (IRMA) 1
Norway (VG-lista)[12] 7
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[13] 6
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[14] 2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[15] 12
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[16] 1
UK Radio Airplay Chart 8
Charts (2000) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 67
Charts (2008) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[17] 165
Charts (2011) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[18] 172


"Flying Without Wings"
Promotional single by Westlife featuring BoA from the album Unbreakable - The Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (Asian edition), Shine We Are! and Next World
Released 2003 (Asia)
Format CD single
Recorded 2002
Genre Pop
Length 3:36
Label BMG, S.M. Entertainment
Writer(s) Wayne Hector, Steve Mac
Producer(s) Lee Soo Man, Steve Mac
"Flying Without Wings"
Promotional single by Westlife featuring Cristian Castro from the album Unbreakable - The Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (Spanish/ Mexican edition)
Released 2002 (Mexico)
Format CD single
Genre Pop
Length 3:36
Writer(s) Wayne Hector, Steve Mac

In 2002, as part of the promotion of their Unbreakable - The Greatest Hits Vol. 1 album, the band re-recorded the song as a duet with Mexican singer Cristian Castro and South Korean pop singer, BoA. Both duets were included on the album in their respective regions. Both duets were also released as singles in their respective regions.[19]

Track listing

  1. "Flying Without Wings" (Duet with Cristian Castro) - 3:35
  2. "Never Knew I Was Losing You" - 4:09
  1. "Flying Without Wings" (Duet with BoA) - 3:35
  2. "Never Knew I Was Losing You" - 4:09

Live version

In 2004, as part of the promotion for their Turnaround Tour , the band released the live version of the song. It was recorded during their tour in Stockholm Globe Arena. Their live version peaked at number one in UK Singles Chart and was the first ever number one in the UK downloads chart.[22]

Track listing

  1. "Flying Without Wings" (Live)[23]

Chart performance

Charts (2004) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 1

Video album

A karaoke version of "Flying Without Wings" was released on DVD in 2000 and debuted at number one. It includes easy to read lyrics, photographs & interactive menus, picture sleeve. It has a running time of 45 minutes.[24]

Track listing

  1. Swear It Again
  2. If I Let You Go
  3. Flying Without Wings
  4. Fool Again
  5. Seasons In The Sun
  6. I Have A Dream
  7. More Than Words
  8. Against All Odds

CD production

Arranged by (strings) : Richard Niles
Arranged by (vocals) : Steve Mac, Wayne Hector
Arranged by, mixed by : Steve Mac
Artwork by (design) : Root
Photography : Brian Aris
Bass guitar : Steve Pearce
Guitar : Paul Gendler
Performer (Choir Md) : Benny Diggs
Engineer (Mix) : Matt Howe
Engineer, Programmed by : Chris Laws
Other (management) : Louis Walsh, Ronan Keating

Tours performed at

Other appearances

The Westlife song has appeared in Pokémon: The Movie 2000 as the final song of the credits in the film and on the official movie soundtrack.[25] It also featured in the 2000 Australian film The Magic Pudding and 2000 French film Archibald the Koala: The Movie.

Ruben Studdard version

"Flying Without Wings"
Single by Ruben Studdard
Released June 10, 2003 (2003-06-10)
Format CD single
Genre Urban contemporary, contemporary R&B
Label J Records
Writer(s) Wayne Hector / Steve Mac
Producer(s) The Underdogs and Face
Certification Gold (RIAA)
3× Platinum (CRIA)
Ruben Studdard singles chronology
"Flying Without Wings"

"Flying Without Wings" was covered by American Idol winner Ruben Studdard as his debut single in 2003. The single was released on June 10 and charted at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 28, behind "This Is the Night" by Clay Aiken. "Flying Without Wings" also gained attention on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, peaking at number thirteen, while it reached number 27 on the adult contemporary chart. It was also released in New Zealand and reached number two behind Clay Aiken. The single had sold 751,000 copies through December 2006. This version of the song also appears on the game Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol.

Track listing

  1. "Flying Without Wings"
  2. "Superstar"


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Interview With Wayne Hector", HitQuarters, 1 Feb 2010.
  2. "WESTLIFE | Artist". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  3. "Westlife | Official Top 20 | MTV UK". Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  4. " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  5. " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  6. " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings" (in French). Ultratip.
  7. " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". Tracklisten.
  8. "Nederlandse Top 40 – Westlife search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  9. Billboard - Google Books
  10. "Westlife: Flying Without Wings" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  11. " – Westlife Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  12. " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". VG-lista.
  13. " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". Top 40 Singles.
  14. "Archive Chart: 1999-10-24". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  15. " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". Singles Top 100.
  16. "Westlife: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company.
  17. "Chart Log (2008)". 2008-12-27. Retrieved 2014-07-12. External link in |publisher= (help)
  18. "Chart Log (2011)". 2011-11-19. Retrieved 2014-07-12. External link in |publisher= (help)
  19. "Westlife Flying Without Wings Mexico Promo 5" CD SINGLE (239371)". 2003-03-12. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  20. "Westlife Flying Without Wings Mexico 5" CD SINGLE (244450)". 2003-04-24. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  21. "Westlife Flying Without Wings Japan Promo 5" CD SINGLE (255411)". 2003-08-15. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  24. "Westlife Flying Without Wings Karaoke UK DIGITAL VERSATILE DISC (246048)". 2003-05-07. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  25. "Pokemon 2000: The Power of One- Original Soundtrack;". Retrieved 2012-03-13.
Preceded by
A Moment Like This
American Idol winner's singles
Succeeded by
I Believe
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